In France, we know summer has started when you see the Tour de France bike race on TV or in a city nearby. This year, the tour stopped in the city where I live, and I was blocked on my way back home from a customer conference to let the race pass through.
It’s Monday today, so let’s make another tour – a tour of the AWS news, announcements, or blog posts that captured my attention last week. I selected these as being of interest to IT professionals and developers: the doers, the builders that spend their time on the AWS Management Console or in code.
Last Week’s Launches
Here are some launches that got my attention during the previous week:
Amazon EC2 Mac M1 instances are generally available – this new EC2 instance type allows you to deploy Mac mini computers with M1 Apple Silicon running macOS using the same console, API, SDK, or CLI you are used to for interacting with EC2 instances. You can start, stop them, assign a security group or an IAM role, snapshot their EBS volume, and recreate an AMI from it, just like with Linux-based or Windows-based instances. It lets iOS developers create full CI/CD pipelines in the cloud without requiring someone in your team to reinstall various combinations of macOS and Xcode versions on on-prem machines. Some of you had the chance the enter the preview program for EC2 Mac M1 instances when we announced it last December. EC2 Mac M1 instances are now generally available.
AWS IAM Roles Anywhere – this is one of those incremental changes that has the potential to unlock new use cases on the edge or on-prem. AWS IAM Roles Anywhere enables you to use IAM roles for your applications outside of AWS to access AWS APIs securely, the same way that you use IAM roles for workloads on AWS. With IAM Roles Anywhere, you can deliver short-term credentials to your on-premises servers, containers, or other compute platforms. It requires an on-prem Certificate Authority registered as a trusted source in IAM. IAM Roles Anywhere exchanges certificates issued by this CA for a set of short-term AWS credentials limited in scope by the IAM role associated to the session. To make it easy to use, we do provide a CLI-based signing helper tool that can be integrated in your CLI configuration.
A streamlined deployment experience for .NET applications – the new deployment experience focuses on the type of application you want to deploy instead of individual AWS services by providing intelligent compute recommendations. You can find it in the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio using the new “Publish to AWS” wizard. It is also available via the .NET CLI by installing AWS Deploy Tool for .NET. Together, they help easily transition from a prototyping phase in Visual Studio to automated deployments. The new deployment experience supports ASP.NET Core, Blazor WebAssembly, console applications (such as long-lived message processing services), and tasks that need to run on a schedule.
Other AWS News
This week, I also learned from these blog posts:
TLS 1.2 to become the minimum TLS protocol level for all AWS API endpoints – this article was published at the end of June, and it deserves more exposure. Starting in June 2022, we will progressively transition all our API endpoints to TLS 1.2 only. The good news is that 95 percent of the API calls we observe are already using TLS 1.2, and only five percent of the applications are impacted. If you have applications developed before 2014 (using a Java JDK before version 8 or .NET before version 4.6.2), it is worth checking your app and updating them to use TLS 1.2. When we detect your application is still using TLS 1.0 or TLS 1.1, we inform you by email and in the AWS Health Dashboard. The blog article goes into detail about how to analyze AWS CloudTrail logs to detect any API call that would not use TLS 1.2.
How to implement automated appointment reminders using Amazon Connect and Amazon Pinpoint – this blog post guides you through the steps to implement a system to automatically call your customers to remind them of their appointments. This automated outbound campaign for appointment reminders checked the campaign list against a “do not call” list before making an outbound call. Your customers are able to confirm automatically or reschedule by speaking to an agent. You monitor the results of the calls on a dashboard in near real time using Amazon QuickSight. It provides you with AWS CloudFormation templates for the parts that can be automated and detailed instructions for the manual steps.
Using Amazon CloudWatch metrics math to monitor and scale resources – AWS Auto Scaling is one of those capabilities that may look like magic at first glance. It uses metrics to take scale-out or scale-in decisions. Most customers I talk with struggle a bit at first to define the correct combination of metrics that allow them to scale at the right moment. Scaling out too late impacts your customer experience while scaling out too early impacts your budget. This article explains how to use metric math, a way to query multiple Amazon CloudWatch metrics, and use math expressions to create new time series based on these metrics. These math metrics may, in turn, be used to trigger scaling decisions. The typical use case would be to mathematically combine CPU, memory, and network utilization metrics to decide when to scale in or to scale out.
How to use Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora with a static IP address – in the cloud, it is better to access network resources by referencing their DNS name instead of IP addresses. IP addresses come and go as resources are stopped, restarted, scaled out, or scaled in. However, when integrating with older, more rigid environments, it might happen, for a limited period of time, to authorize access through a static IP address. You have probably heard that scary phrase: “I have to authorize your IP address in my firewall configuration.” This new blog post explains how to do so for Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) database. It uses a Network Load Balancer and traffic forwarding at the Linux-kernel level to proxy your actual database server.
Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering significantly reduces storage costs – we estimate our customers saved up to $250 millions in storage costs since we launched S3 Intelligent-Tiering in 2018. A recent blog post describes how Amazon Photo, a service that provides unlimited photo storage and 5 GB of video storage to Amazon Prime members in eight marketplaces world-wide, uses S3 Intelligent-Tiering to significantly save on storage costs while storing hundreds of petabytes of content and billions of images and videos on S3.
Upcoming AWS Events
Check your calendars and sign up for these AWS events:
AWS re:Inforce is the premier cloud security conference, July 26-27. This year it is hosted at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Massachusetts, USA. The conference agenda is available and there is still time to register.
That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another tour of AWS news and launches!